Click Through Reads #47: Google Travel Updates and Bing Similar Audience Feature

Hello Click-Through-Readers! This week in the news we are covering some helpful updates from Google to support the travel industry with the influx of vacation planning in a post-vaccination world. If anyone flew in recent weeks you are probably very aware that people are on-the-go again! Memorial Day Weekend brought busy flights and freeways. These updates couldn’t come at a better time for some marketers. Another big update came from Bing, who has finally released its Similar Audience feature which functions similarly to Facebook's Lookalike audiences. We cover the limitations and requirements of this new feature. 

Another exciting update in the news this week is Google’s Performance Max campaigns, which were announced at the latest Google Marketing Livestream. We will dig into the update and details.

Let’s get to the news!

Google Rolls Out Updates to Help Travel Industry Handle Influx of Vacation Planning

50% of Americans have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That means people are dining out, hugging their loved ones, and traveling again.

To help advertisers in the travel industry handle to influx of vacation planners, they have rolled out 3 new features:

  • Vacation rentals now showing in Hotel results. Vacation rentals listings will appear in the same feed as hotels search results now. This means more competition for hotels, but possibly preferred options for users.

  • Extending Hotel Ads feed data to text ads with hotel booking extensions. Google’s hotel booking extensions will automatically pull Hotel Ads feed data and display it in the search results. These extensions will be more helpful to users by pulling information from the hotel advertisers’ landing page, hotel, price, and availability.

  • Updates to commissions (per stay) reporting, support and billing. In the height of the pandemic, Google would not charge advertisers if a user who booked through an ad cancelled their stay. They have added three new features to their commissions (per stay):
    • Google Ads per-booking report to help advertisers with reconciliation and understand which travel reservations were canceled and which were not.
    • Bid adjustment support for commission (per stay) campaigns: Advertisers will have control over their commission rates depending on check-in-day of the week and stay date.
    • Credit card billing and additional currency support to make it easier for users to pay that also makes sense for the business owner.

Bing Rolls Out Similar Audiences

Advertisers can now use Bing’s Similar Audience functionality to help advertisers reach customers similar to those that have already engaged with their brand. This functionality is similar to lookalike functionality found on other platforms.  

To get started, you must have at least one Remarketing list with a least 300 users.

Drive Better Google Results With Performance Max Campaigns

During the Google Marketing Livestream in May, Google announced the latest product announcements and updates including Performance Max campaigns. These campaigns use Google’s automation to help drive more conversions and conversion value across all of Google’s channels, such as YouTube, Display, and Search for example. Performance Max campaigns are great if the main goal is to obtain leads or to drive online sales without using the Google Merchant Center feed. If you use conversion tracking through Google Ads or Google Analytics, Google recommends having over 50 biddable conversions in the last month. 

Performance Max campaigns are currently in Beta. If you’re interested in signing up for the beta, reach out to your Google rep or complete the sign-up form.

Instagram is Now Testing Reels Ads in the US

Instagram has announced the expansion of testing Reels Ads to the US, UK, Canada, and France with select brands. Testing of the new ad placement began last month in Australia, Germany, India, and Brazil. Reels are Instagram’s popular new video content that now have their own dedicated section in the app. These ads are full-screen and vertical (similar to Stories ads), and will appear in between individual Reels. They can last up to 30 seconds long, and will loop videos just how organic Reels do. Users can interact with this ad type by viewing, liking, commenting, sharing, or skipping. For brands that see success with Story ads, this could be an exciting new opportunity to expand into new inventory where users are spending time. 

Snapchat Introduces New Features

Snapchat announced at their Partner Summit last week that they will be rolling out several new features this year. The focus of their plans is ‘utility’, with the aim to deliver comprehensive business solutions for partners and utility for the community. Their announcements were broken into three specific areas: Augmented Reality, Developers, and Creators.

  • Augmented Reality - The next generation of Spectacles is coming along with Lens Studio 4.0. They will also be integrating more shopping into the app with the addition of public profiles (allows partners to create a ‘Shop’ page for their businesses), Screenshop (scan outfits or your saved photos to shop similar looks), AR Shopping (a virtual, AR ‘try-on’ shopping experience), and AR Shopping Lenses (allows brands to upload their product catalogues and 3D product assets). 
  • Developers - Snapchat is rolling out Map Layers with select partners, which allows partners to map out experiences and snaps. Other partnership features include Camera Kit with Disney and Bumble, daily shopping events with Poshmark and Ticketmaster, further integration of Bitmoji into mobile, PC and console games through Unity, and Sticker Kit which brings Bitmoji, Stickers, and GIFs right into the app.
  • Creators - Story Studio is Snap’s new app that’s specifically designed for editing professional content for mobile, on mobile. The app will also offer insights into trends on Snapchat, and will be available later this year on iOS. Other features include Gifts (allows Subscribers to send Gifts to Snap Stars), Spotlight (Creators can upload videos here directly from their internet browser and content will be accessible to those without Snapchat accounts), and the Creator Marketplace portal within Business Manager (find and contact verified creators).

Twitter previews Ticketed Spaces, says it’ll take a 20 percent cut of sales

Twitter is launching a Ticketed Spaces feature where US users will be able to apply to host paid live audio rooms. A minimum of 1,000 followers is required, as well as having hosted three spaces in the past 30 days, and be at least 18 years old.
Twitter is partnering with Stripe for payment handling, adding that users will receive 80% of revenue after Google and Apple’s in-app purchase fees, meaning after the Google/Apple fees are paid, Twitter would get 20% and the user would get 80% of the remaining profits.
Only US members can host ticketed spaces to start, but anyone can attend.

New Google Bidding Features 

Google is rolling out several new features to help you drive performance using automated bidding strategies.

  • New signals are available for search campaigns using Target ROAS and Maximize Conversion value. Up till now you could only view top signals for campaigns that use Target CPA and Maximize conversions. Use the Top signals in the bid strategy report to give you more transparency into the factors that determine your campaign performance.
  • Google has made seasonality adjustments to give you more control in situations where you expect significant shifts in conversion rate, like during sales or product launches. You can now set them at the manager account level instead of creating them for each individual account.
  • Google is making it easier to opt in to Maximize Conversion Value by showing new opportunities on the Recommendations page. This can help you get more conversion value within your budget.
  • The Simulators tool was previously only available for conversion and click based bid strategies and Google is now expanding Simulators to support campaigns using Target Impression Share. You can further understand how adjustments to your tIS can impact metrics like cost, impression share and clicks.

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